A statement from our CEO – 15/06/20
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A statement from our CEO – 15/06/20

Much has changed since I last updated you on our work here at Newhampton Arts Centre. Today we welcomed back our thirty resident artists and organisations to access their studios and workspaces again. For the last three months NAC has been home to only a skeleton crew of site staff. Our residents have in the meantime continued their creative work from home – as evidenced in Hannah Boy’s online art classes and Central Youth Theatre’s collective performance poetry.  But from today we’re once again a creative hub – though it’s a gradual and careful return to work as we get to grips with signage, hand sanitisers, one-way systems and all the other new features of public life.

We have been busy online and are now only a week away from Paint The Day 2020. This participatory visual arts event has become a fixture in the NAC calendar and we are delighted to be able to bring an evolved version to Wolverhampton next Saturday. Instead of recording the localities around NAC, and giving us their art at the end of the day, this year we are asking participants to record the world around their home as it looks on Saturday and send us an image, to be hung on Saturday in an online exhibition that we will open on Sunday lunchtime. Tickets are going fast so if you’ve taken part before don’t leave it too late to join us online this year. Across the West Midlands on Saturday artists and arts organisations are producing free arts events as part of Midsummer, a one-day festival featuring the Royal Shakespeare Company, Ikon Gallery and many others. Do have a look – after you’ve uploaded your Paint The Day work of course.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be part of the intimate online audience for Black Country Touring’s online show Zoom Café. It’s a one-person show about the history and the stories behind our favourite cuppas (well mine anyway), coffee and tea. There are only 12 people in the audience, and it was a highly social and at times moving experience. Tickets are onsale now on a Pay What You Can basis.

On our website you can see right now our first online exhibition: Art Unlocked, which features artistic responses to lockdown by ten of our resident artists. For those who followed Ed Isaac’s daily drawings online we have two of these – along with work from many of our other residents.

Last, but not least, we continue to find out how the artists, teachers and community workers that make up our creative community are responding to life under lockdown. Nac@home is on the air at wcrfm every Monday evening at 6:45pm and this week it features Alex Ohm, who sold out one of the last concerts to happen at NAC before lockdown. You can catch all the previous episodes on the Nac@home page of our website.

While it feels great to be writing about things starting up again and creative opportunities, it is still a desperately worrying time for the cultural sector. NAC, like all the other theatres up and down the country, has no idea when we will be able to resume concerts and theatre shows. Please support your cultural organisations in any way you can. We, whether to NAC, the Grand Theatre, the Arena , the Museum and Art Gallery, or Lighthouse all hope to welcome you all back soon.

Trevelyan Wright

Chief Executive